Traveling with Diabetes can sometimes be a scary thought as you are not sure whether they will be able to accommodate for your needs.  There is also some special precautions and arrangements that you need to make before being able to board a plane or go on a cruise ship or even make reservations at a hotel.

He is a few tips that will assist you in making the right choices and allow you to travel safe:

Before you go…. ASK

Asking is one of the simplest methods of having a safe and catered for journey. With Diabetes you have to be absolutely sure that your needs are met and in case of an emergency if there is adequate medical assistance.


Before boarding a plane you should ask your travel agent what measures are in place for diabetics on the airline you are traveling.  If the measures are not adequate, a different airline should be used.  You should ask if special meals and beverages are available for diabetics and know what special procedures have been put in place should a diabetic emergency emerge.  It’s also a good idea to know what medical training the crew has and if they are trained to give necessary medical assistance in case of a diabetic emergency.

If you are an Insulin dependant (Type I) diabetic, then you will be allowed to take medication on board, but you will need a doctor’s certificate as proof.  Make sure that you have visible identification like a Medic-Alert bracelet so that medical personnel can immediately identify that you are diabetic.


When planning a trip on a cruise ship, it’s always vital to know if they have a menu for diabetics and a doctor on board.  Most shipping companies have a qualified medical doctor on their ships for emergency situations.  It will also be helpful to know if the ship has a pharmacy on board.


When making a reservation at a hotel, always ask the hotel if they cater for diabetics in terms of menus and beverages.  It is a good idea to know how far is the nearest hospital and if the hotel has any medical trained staff on site.


It is also a very good idea to carry an information package with you with emergency information and contact details of a next of kin.  We suggest having the following information in your information package:

A list of names and contact details of your health team. Next of kin (friends and family) to contact in an emergency A lost of medications with dosages A list where you name all allergies to medication and foodstuff A history of your medical condition Prescription for more medication should you be in need of more or lose your medication while traveling, don’t pack it all together.

It’s also a good idea to have a Glycaemic Indexing Book with you in order to balance your menu and not eat the wrong food.


Pack extra medications.

When planning a trip, always make sure that you have enough medication for the trip, and more…..

Always have more medication as baggage can always get stolen, or it can get wet or lost.  Delays are also a big possibility, it might snow and all the airports might be locked down and all flights grounded.  Imagine being caught in Hurricane Katrina….. with no medication.  It surely is not something nice to think about, but it’s reality and it’s better to come prepared.

If you’re Insulin dependant, make sure you have enough syringes, needles, lancets, dextro-stix®, alcohol swabs and spare batteries for your glucometer.

Pack snacks

It is a good idea to pack some extra snacks to chew on during the flight should you feel your blood sugar getting too low.  Some cheese, nuts, fruit juice or candy is examples of good snacks that is easily transported and safe to take during your flight.

Wear Your Medic Alert Bracelet

A Medic-Alert bracelet can be read in any language.  Any trained medical professional coming to your aid is trained to immediately search for a bracelet or some form of identification of your disease and allergies.  Wearing your bracelet will enable them to immediately identify that you are a diabetes sufferer and will save valuable time and effort.

Also learn to say “I am diabetic” or “I have Diabetes” in the language of the country you are visiting.  This basic phrase might save your life in a time of emergency.

Tips on how to make your trip more comfortable

Move around

When taking long flights, it is crucial to keep the circulation in your legs going.  It is advisable to stand up and move around the plane every hour in order to keep the circulation going.

Wear comfortable shoes
Sufferers of diabetes has a risk of having infections and non-healing wounds on their feet, thus always wear soft cushioned socks specially designed for diabetics while on vacation.  Walking bare foot is a health risk and can cause unwanted injury and medical problems.  Always wear shoes to protect your feet, whether you’re inside or out in the field.

Be prepared

When going out for a leisurely stroll, always make sure that you have some snacks with to boost your sugar levels.  You might think that it will only take 5 minutes, but you might see something interesting or enjoy the holiday activities and 5 minutes can very easily become a couple of hours.  If you have not prepared for this, you might find yourself in some warm water.


Vacations abroad can be a lot of fun, but can also be life threatening if you are not well prepared for it.  Keep in mind that it is an unfamiliar territory for you and you should be well aware of the area you will be visiting, the roads you will be traveling as well as the transport, shops, pharmacies and doctors in the area.  Just plan well, and there should be no fear of visiting any country.